Sunday, June 24, 2012

Song Of The Week: 6/24/12

Song: "Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An"

Artist: Propagandhi

Album: "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes"

Year: 2001

"Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An" is a revolutionary cry of the East Timorese people that basically means "Live or die - we want independence". The song is inspired by the real life story of Bella Gahlos, a young East Timorese woman who saw the Indonesian government basically do a hostile military take over of East Timor, with support from both the U.S. and Canadian governments. It's the story of how the Indonesian government would basically torture, rape and murder the East Timorese people, specifically how the Indonesian military brutally beat to death Gahlos two young brothers as well as put her father in prison. The young East Timorese women would often be raped by the Indonesian military. The girls were also injected with birth control as a way to basically shut down the reproduction of East Timorese people. Gahlos would defect East Timor years later and now lives in Canada. She is very much an activist trying to gain support to free East Timor from Indonesian control. She uses the atrocities that she saw first hand to try to sway support for her cause. Propagandhi are a punk band from Manitoba, Canada who formed back in 1986. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Hannah and drummer Jord Samolesky are the founding members of the band and are still with the band to the present day. Propagandhi's style incorporates some skate punk with touches of metal influence. Lyrically, Propagandhi is a band that wears it's radical left wing views on it's sleeve. The band is known to take strong stances against human rights violations, sexism, racism, homophobia, imperialism, capitalism and organized religion. They also support animal rights and are all vegans. After touring in support of their debut album, 1993's "How To Clean Everything", with NOFX, Fat Mike, bassist and vocalist for NOFX, decided to sign Propagandhi to his punk label Fat Wreck Chords. In their twenty-six year career as a band, Propagandhi has released five full length albums, three EP's, three splits, two live albums, three demo tapes and a compilation album. In 1997, Todd Kowalski became their full time bass player and still is to this day. In 2006, the band officially became a four piece, adding second guitarist David Guillas. Currently, as of June 2012, the band has stated that they have finished recording and producing what will be their sixth full length album which has a tentative release date around late summer or early fall of 2012.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Song Of The Week: 6/17/12

Song: "Tessie"

Artist: Dropkick Murphys

Album: "The Warrior's Code"

Year: 2005

"Tessie" is a song that was re-worked by the Dropkick Murphys and turned into a battle cry for the eventual 2004 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. From 1996 till the present day, the Dropkick Murphys have been major players in the punk rock/celtic punk/oi scenes. From the very beginning, the band was embraced by their hometown Boston, MA fans. By the time 2005's "The Warrior's Code" dropped, the Murphys began gaining fans across the country and the globe for that matter. Without getting into too much of the history of the band which I did in my last blog, i'll go into the story of how "Tessie" became the anthem for a Boston sports team that was trully loved by their fanbase, but always seemed to leave them heartbroken, that is until 2004! The original version of "Tessie" appeared in a 1902 Broadway musical called "The Silver Slipper". This version of the song was basically about a woman singing to her parakeet. In 1903, the Boston Americans (who would eventually change their name to the Red Sox) were down one game to three against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. A group of local fans who called themselves the Royal Rooters would get together at the 3rd Base Saloon, which was owned by Michael T. McGreevy, and they would sing "Tessie", albeit with different lyrics, as a rallying cry for the Boston Americans. In fact, the Royal Rooters would even travel to Pittsburgh for the games and antagonize the Pirate players by singing "Tessie". At the time, the World Series was a best of nine and the Americans wound up winning games five, six, seven and eight to become World Series Champions. The Rally Rooters continued singing "Tessie" at Red Sox games but for whatever reason stopped after the 1918 season. Call it a curse or whatever but the Red Sox would go on one of the longest droughts between World Series wins of any team, other than the Chicago Cubs. In 2004, the Dropkick Murphys decided to re-work "Tessie" with lyrics that described how the Rally Rooters would make the song the ultimate rallying cry for the Boston Red Sox. As the song reappeared, so did the magic. Down three games to none against the hated rival New York Yankess, the Red Sox miraculously stormed back to take the series and eventually go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals for their first championship in eighty-six years. "Tessie" would also be featured in the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore movie "Fever Pitch" which revolved around a Red Sox crazed fan and how he struggled to keep his fandom and his personal relationships seperate. "The Warrior's Code" would also give the Murphys a boost when their song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" was used as the theme song to the Martin Scorsese hit film "The Departed" starring Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Always a band to wear their hometown on their sleeve, the title track of "The Warrior's Code" was a dedication to Lowell, MA boxing legend Micky Ward. In 2008, Dropkick Murphys singer/bassist Ken Casey re-established and re-opened McGreevy's 3rd Base Saloon which is located at 911 Boylston St. in Boston, MA. Currently, after the band finished up their annual St. Patrick's Day concerts in Boston, the band began working on what will be their eighth studio album which they hope to have out by September of 2012.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Song Of The Week: 6/10/12

Song: "Perfect Stranger"

Artist: Dropkick Murphys

Album: "The Gang's All Here"

Year: 1999

"Perfect Stranger" appears to be a song about battling an inner conflict with one's self. The vocalist appears to not recognize himself anymore. He's lost his identity in a way. Definitely a true battle against mental health problems. The Dropkick Murphys formed as a band back in 1996, hailing from Quincy, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. The band has been influenced from everything from punk legends The Ramones and The Clash, to the Irish rock stylings of The Pogues, as well as the churning heavy metal sound of AC/DC. When they broke on the music scene, they had a very hardcore or street punk sound. As the years went on, the band began to incorporate more of a Celtic punk style, very much the sound that represents the band currently. The band was formed by friends Mike McColgan and Ken Casey. McColgan, however, would depart the band to follow one of his lifelong dreams of becoming a Boston firefighter. With one album under their belt with McColgan on vocals, 1998's "Do Or Die", the Murphys had to settle on a new lead singer to continue on. Al Barr, lead singer of Boston hardcore band The Bruisers, was selected to be the new lead singer of the band and, to this day, remains in place as the band's lead singer, at times sharing vocal duties with bassist Ken Casey. While the band has garnered it's share of fans and cult followers worldwide, in their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, the band has become part of the fabric of the community. They are a blue collar band in a blue collar community, which is part of the mutual love and respect the band shares with the fans in Boston. Their is probably no band out there that wears their hometown of their sleeves quite like the Murphys do with Boston. Though the band isn't overly political in it's songs, the Dropkick Murphys definitely represent the common man and are very much pro union, standing up for worker's rights. After years of building up a cult following, the Murphys also started crossing over with some mainstream success as well. In 2004, the band had a lot of success with their single "Tessie", which ultimately became the theme song to the Boston Red Sox Championship season after suffering through an eighty-six year drought. In 2005, "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" from the album "The Warrior's Code" exploded after being featured in the Martin Scorcese movie, "The Departed". The song is also a staple at all major Boston sporting events as well. In 2007, the album "The Meanest Of Times" reached number 20 on the Billboard music charts. And finally, in 2011, the band's album "Going Out In Style" debuted at number six on the Billboard charts, which was the highest position the band ever held. In their sixteen year career, the Dropkick Murphys have released seven studio albums, three compilation albums, three live albums, three EP's, eleven splits and have been featured on more than thirty various artist compilations or soundtracks. Currently, the band has confirmed it's been working on what would be their eighth album which they hope to have out by September of 2012.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Song Of The Week: 6/3/12

Song: "Drunk Sincerity"

Artist: Bad Religion

Album: "Tested"

Year: 1997

"Drunk Sincerity" appears to be about how people are manipulated to believe lies, whether those lies are told by political or religious leaders, warmongers, or just as simple as feeding into lies of love or relationships. What the band is saying is to just not by into the bullshit!! See through the lies and educate yourself so you just don't buy in to someone else's idea. Inform yourself and form your own opinions. The original version of "Drunk Sincerity" was released on Bad Religion's 1996 album, "The Gray Race". The version I chose for my song of the week comes from the band's 1997 live album "Tested". Bad Religion formed as a band in 1979, hailing from Los Angeles, California. Very much influenced by punk legends such as The Ramones, The Germs and Minor Threat, Bad Religion would carve out their own niche in punk rock circles beginning with their debut album, 1981's "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?". The band's second album, 1983's "Into The Unknown" nearly ruined the band. It was such a departure from their hardcore punk roots that all the band members besides vocalist Greg Graffin decided to leave the band. Thankfully, in 1988 Graffin, guitarist Brett Gurewitz, bassist Jay Bentley and former Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson would bring BR back to it's roots, dropping perhaps one of the most influential punk albums of all time, "Suffer". As the 80's turned into the 90's, a musical revolution began happening. The Seattle grunge scene started bringing back that garage rock sound. Out was the overproduced, candy coated hair metal and in was an aggressive sound that focused more on the music and lyrics than the image. After the Nirvana's and Pearl Jam's exploded on the music scene, there was an undercurrent of punk rock that began catching a wave of success. Bad Religion, along with Rancid, Green Day and The Offspring were at the head of that wave. In 1993, Bad Religion would sign to major label Atlantic Records and also would have one of the band's most successful singles, "American Jesus" off the album "Recipe For Hate". 1994's release, "Stranger Than Fiction" would prove to be the band's highest selling album. Unfortunately for the band, this was also a time when founding member, Brett Gurewitz became unhappy with all the success and the direction the band was going and decided to quit and focus on his upstart punk record label, Epitaph Records. In 2001, Bad Religion would leave Atlantic and go back to Epitaph Records. The good news was Brett Gurewitz decided to rejoin the band who was now a six piece with the addition of Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker. With Gurewitz back, the band plowed through the rest of the 2000 decade releasing four more albums, 2002's "The Process Of Belief", 2004's "The Empire Strikes First", 2007's "New Maps Of Hell" and 2010's "The Dissent Of Man". For 33 years, Bad Religion has been one of the most influential punk rock bands of all time. Their anthems of not conforming to various establishments as well as their songs of political and social unrest mark them as one of the most important bands of all time as well. Currently, Bad Religion are working on what will be sixteenth studio album, hoping to have it released some time in 2012.